4 Benefits of Additive Manufacturing for Custom Jigs and Fixtures
When you need to hold a part in place or control the position of another tool during machining, you typically have a few options—none of which are ideal:
- Option 1: Use standard jigs and fixtures that are “just okay.” Using standard fixturing that isn’t customized for the part you’re working with is like putting on a coat that’s two sizes too big. It works, but it isn’t great. And it doesn’t guarantee repeatability or accuracy for your process.
- Option 2: Forgo jigs and fixtures in favor of inefficient workarounds that decrease productivity. When you walk down anyshop floor, you’ll probably see examples of inefficient workarounds: using a piece of scrap metal to taper down a part or a wrench as a clamp. These workarounds may seem to get the job done in the moment. But they’re really just temporary solutions that slow down productivity.
- Option 3: Machine a custom fixture that doesn’t achieve the complex geometric design you need. If you only need to produce a simple shape, a mill or a lathe can usually do the job. But if you need geometric flexibility, CNC machining isn’t the best option. This manufacturing method can also be costly and labor-intensive for a jig or fixture.
If none of these so-called “solutions” are working for you, there’s a fourth option you may be overlooking: additive manufacturing.
Additive Manufacturing for Custom Jigs and Fixtures
With additive manufacturing, it’s possible to produce—and reproduce—custom jigs and fixtures with greater ease, flexibility, and speed
than ever before. Here’s why additive manufacturing is the solution you’ve been waiting for:
- Create a custom design for the factory floor. Thanks to 3D printing technology, we can custom-make jigs and fixtures to fit everyridge and angle your part has. Say goodbye to unstable workpieces! Your part will fit into your jig or fixture like a puzzle piece.
- Iterate on the fly. If at any point you require a different jig or fixture for your part, we can simply update the design file and print it again. Our digitized system allows us to make changes to a 3D file anytime we need to—making it extra easy to print duplicates or new iterations on demand. Getting you what you need when you need it is local outsourced manufacturing at its finest!
- Design easy to handle, worker-friendly solutions.We design jigs and fixtures in a sound, ergonomic way that prioritizes our customers’ safety and convenience. Using lightweight materials makes it easy for the end-user to hold the jig or fixture in place during machining. We also add grips and other necessary features for easy handling, accuracy, and repeatability.
- Optimize efficiency.When you forgo jigs and fixtures or rely on inadequate solutions, you pay a small inefficiency tax each day that eventually snowballs into hefty overhead. Using additive manufacturing for custom jigs and fixtures solves the problem once and for all so you don’t have to think about it again.
Simplify your machining processes and increase productivity by ordering custom jigs and fixtures from Alchemy Industrial.
No design? No problem! Once you’ve identified an inefficiency, bring it to us. We’ll help you select the right materials and create the design at our 3D print bureau in Texas. Give us a call today!